Parents of Dead Teen Ask Why Police Shot Their Naked, Unarmed Son

A freshman student at the University of Alabama was shot and killed by police early Saturday morning, and friends and family are demanding answers as to why he was killed.

The student, 18-year-old Gil Collar was killed after he was naked and banging his head on windows at police headquarters. Collar, a high school wrestler, reportedly “assumed a ‘fighting stance’ and chased an officer before being shot.” Collar was unarmed.

The university claims that “the officer tried to retreat numerous times to defuse the situation before opening fire.” But his friends and classmates aren’t buying the police explanation as to why they had to kill an unarmed college student.

“It just upsets me that there's no other way to apprehend an unarmed student rather than shooting him. I don't understand that,” Tyler Kendrick, a sophomore at the University of Alabama, told the Associated Press.

Collar’s mother is also speaking out to the press. She told the AP that someone with knowledge of the investigation told her that videotape of the incident “shows my son never touched the police officer.”

The mother, Bonnie Smith Collar, also said: “Whatever caused the incident was something that made him act not in his normal personality.”

The case is likely to renew anger at police conduct and willingness to shoot first and ask questions later.

The killing of the student also marks the second time tragedy has struck on the University of Alabama campus. The AP notes that “Collar was the second person killed on the South Alabama campus since last year.” The news outlet reports that “a university freshman was charged with murder in the fatal stabbing of another teenager who was slain in an on-campus apartment in July 2011.”

But university officials insist the campus remains safe.

 

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close
alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.